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Upper Missouri Basin Water Supply Report:

August 2016
Jefferson Valley 

Hello all,

As we head into the latter part of August, drought conditions persist along the Rocky Mountain front and the Big Hole, Ruby, Beaverhead and Jefferson Rivers remain a concern.  Local Drought Coordinators across the basin are closely monitoring flows, and coordinating efforts among water users to "share the shortages" in an effort to keep some water in the rivers for the fisheries. It is often a complicated and not very popular task, so we appreciate everyone's efforts as we try to make it through until cooler weather arrives.  The low stream flows and warm temperatures have required hoot owl fishing restrictions across many of the rivers, especially in the headwaters area. 

Below, you'll find area-specific summaries of local drought indicators that will give you a robust snapshot of the August conditions in your area.  Don't forget to click on the links to dig a little deeper, and explore some of the great water resource information available. 

Community Drought Forums:  
DNRC and Lieutenant Governor Cooney are hosting Community Drought Forums in Bozeman on  Sept. 8 from 11-12:30 (Bozeman Public Library, 626 E. Main St), Billings on Sept 7 from 3:00-4:30, and Missoula on Sept 13 from 2:00-3:30 both at the Public Libraries. These forums will provide an opportunity to convey how drought affects you and your livelihood, showcase any locally-grown water shortage solutions, and highlight the resources you need to increase drought resilience in your community. It will also be an opportunity to provide feedback to the state as it approaches updating the Montana Drought Response Plan.

I hope to see you at one of the forums, and please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Sincerely,
Ann Schwend 
DNRC State Water Planner for the Upper Missouri River Basin
aschwend@mt.gov
(406) 444-1806
US Drought Monitor: According to the US Drought Monitor, the majority of the basin is considered abmormally dry or in a designated drought status (D1-D4) with portions of Lewis and Clark and Teton Counties now in D2 status.  If any county remains at D2 or higher for 8 consecutive weeks, producers in those counties could be eligible for a monthly payment under the Livestock Forage Protection Program.
Stream Flows:  Most of the streams in the Upper Missouri Basin are experiencing below normal flows, with the majority showing less than half of normal for the last two-week period.
Surface Water Supply Index; As of Aug 1, the SWSI indicates that the Sun River remains extremely dry and the Gallatin has also joined the ranks of extremely dry.  The other watersheds are also considered to be slightly to moderately dry.
Groundwater: if you are curious about groundwater resources, here are 2 links that you might find interesting and useful.  Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Web mapper (I recommend playing around with the  geology transparency tool) and the GRACE-Based Shallow Groundwater Drought Indicator. 
Fishing Restrictions:  Many of the rivers in the Basin are experiencing partial and complete closures due to low flows and high temperatures.  As conditions change frequently, please go to the FWP website for the most current information.
Reservoirs: Increased demands over the last two months has left some reservoirs well below average on August 1st.  Reservoirs in Southwest Montana are well below average, and Gibson Reservoir in the Sun River basin is currently 12% of average for this date and is only 6% of capacity.
Hebgen;  Middle Creek;  Ruby:  LimaClark Canyon;  Willow Creek;  Canyon Ferry;  Helena Valley Reservoir;  Gibson;  Pishkun;  Willow Creek;  Tiber;  Sherburne;  & Swift Creek
 
Real-Time Streamflow
Weather Forecasts
Real-Time Water Quality
Fire Restrictions
Additional Resources
Drought Planning Resources
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